Report: Facebook to challenge Google, Apple with mobile ad network

Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) will reportedly launch its own mobile advertising network later this month, according to multiple reports. The action will put Facebook in direct competition with Google's (NASDAQ: GOOG) AdMob, Millennial Media, Apple's (NASDAQ: AAPL) iAd and other mobile ad networks.

Re/code, which first reported the news, said Facebook has long been considering an ad network, but waited until its mobile ad business was up and running before it decided to launch one. Indeed, Facebook's mobile advertising revenue represented approximately 53 percent of its overall advertising revenue in the fourth quarter, up from 49 percent in the third quarter and 23 percent in the year-ago period. Facebook is scheduled to report first quarter earnings later this week, and is widely expected to significantly expand its mobile ad sales.

Facebook will unveil its mobile ad network at its F8 conference later this month, Re/code reported.

Facebook's mobile ad network will leverage the company's vast trove of information on its users to better target ads. The network will allow Facebook to sell ads through apps and mobile websites that the company doesn't own, effectively increasing its advertising reach into the apps and services of other providers that agree to connect into its ad network.

The move also puts Facebook into direct competition with other mobile ad networks, including those like Millennial Media and Google's AdMob, which have been around for years.

Nevertheless, the market for mobile ads continues to grow. Indeed, Twitter just last week announced it will connect its mobile ad services with MoPub, the mobile ad network it purchased last year, thereby giving advertisers one point of contact into a network comprising both MoPub's operations and Twitter's services.

According to eMarketer, worldwide spending on mobile ads increased more than 100 percent last year to a whopping $17.96 billion, and will grow another 75.1 percent this year to $31.45 billion. eMarketer said that Google commanded almost 50 percent of the global mobile ad market last year, followed by Facebook with 17.5 percent, Twitter with 2.4 percent and Pandora with 2.1 percent. Millennial Media came in sixth place with 0.8 percent of the market.

For more:
- see this Re/code article
- see this WSJ article
- see this CNET article

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